“Constructivism and Instructional Design: The Emergence of the Learning Sciences and Design Research,” by Jonassen, Cernusca and Ionas

Jonassen, Cernusca and Ionas frame their argument by pointing out that constructivism is not, as it is often characterized, an instructional methodology. It is rather “a philosophy that underlies theories from which pedagogies and models are derived. Constructivism is primarily an epistemological and ontological conception of what reality, knowledge, the mind, thought, and meaning are” (p. 46). They go on to describe constructivism’s impact on instructional design as a “shift in philosophical emphasis from the positivistic and deterministic assumptions made by instructional scientists to the social, historical, and constructivist assumptions made by learning scientists,” whose “preferred design method…is design research, a process that integrates design and research. Rather than applying theories (most of which are inadequately established by empirical research), design researchers integrate theories and design activities in an iterative process” (p. 51). The authors conclude by expressing their belief that “this design process is likely to produce more local, and thus more useful, instructional solutions to learning problems” (p. 51).